Well, folks, here’s another ongoing…..and there’s good news: I don’t think this got whacked in the GREAT MOW EVENT so I should be able to get a look at it in the fall.

I think this/these plants are Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius.

Before I am more sure, I will have to get a look at the bark on a more mature branch or trunk. The plant is named for the way the bark sort of peels back in strips… I guess on the sort of ‘cats have nine lives’ and this plant has ‘nine barks’?  At least it’s not supposed to look like a nine-headed barking dog-that would be an awfully odd look for a shrub.

From what I’ve seen so far, I’m not sure, but the oldest bit of branch growth I’ve got pictured isn’t in great focus but does seem to be showing signs of splitting.

I’m not super familiar with the genus that Spirea is in, but Ninebark’s genus is related to Spirea’s genus.  I guess the flowers look like the pictures I’ve seen of spirea, light colored, tiny, and sort of frothy looking.  Ninebark is related to the roses…which I find pretty interesting because there are a lot of not-looking like the sort of “Beauty and the Beast” and “prom night” “marriage proposal” rose plants that are related to the roses. Spireas are related to the roses (not surprising after how I started this paragraph), as well as cherries, apples, blackberries, plums…which to me is super fun.  And a bit odd, as I’m not a fan of how roses smell, don’t really think they’re that pretty, and really not impressed with a bouquet of them (dead or otherwise), but the other members, especially the apples and blackberries are some of my most cherished favorites.

So, Ninebark has some pretty cool relatives, and it seems pretty cool itself from all the stuff I’m reading as I research… It’s pretty hardy, and is able to thrive even in the cold areas where I grew up.  It also provides food for the wildlife, so that’s cool, too.  Gardeners have decided they like a lot about this plant, which is good and bad… it’s bad because it made it a little trickier to find information about the wild-type plant.  Search engines like to throw up business and sales before they throw up information type cites for some reason…(it was kind of an issue when searching for information on St. John’s Wort, too, all sorts of essential oils and herbal medical sales).  But it also is really cool, if you want to try growing it in your garden or yard, because not only can you get the old-school wild type if you’ve got the room for it and or are into native landscaping, but you can get ones in different sizes or colors which might better fit your plan for your garden.

Like I said, I’m probably going to keep an eye on this plant, as the fruit sort of seem like a dry pod-balloon around some sort of hard seed, from what I gather from research and from what they look like.  I’d like to see what these plants do with them as they ripen and age.  That’s all for now, I think, written August 21, 2017, although future edits are hoped for!

 

 

 

 

Resources, in no particular order….

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/common-ninebark/

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org

https://www.thespruce.com/ninebark-shrub-growing-profile-3269220

http://capemaywildlife.com/_templates/group_rosaceae.html

http://vnps.org/three-cheers-ninebark-physocarpus-opulifolius/

http://grownative.org/plant-picker/plant/ninebark/

 

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